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Sonora Quest Laboratories Offers Valley Fever Screening as Patient Ordered Lab Test

Monday, November 14, 2016   |   Category: Press Releases

Patients can be tested for valley fever with or without a doctor’s order 

TEMPE, Ariz. (Nov. 14, 2016)  Sonora Quest Laboratories, the market share leader in clinical laboratory testing in Arizona, today announced the addition of Valley Fever Screening to the patient-ordered MyLab ReQuest™ test menu. Valley fever—a wind-borne infection caused by the inhalation of spores of a fungus called coccidioides, which thrives in dry, sandy desert soils—affects more people in Arizona than in any other state. Because the symptoms are often nonspecific, valley fever is difficult to diagnose.

Sonora Quest Laboratories’ valley fever test is designed to aid individuals and physicians in the evaluation of this fungal infection.

Through a collaboration with state and local public health agencies and the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence, Sonora Quest Laboratories is also exploring the development of an early warning system for when valley fever is active in the state. The new effort was established to improve valley fever detection, accurate infection diagnosis and to better address the needs of the state’s at-risk population. Those at higher risk of developing a serious infection include anyone who lives or visits areas where this fungus thrives in the soil (residents or travelers primarily to southern Arizona and California), people with a weakened immune system, those taking immunosuppressing treatments for an organ transplant or rheumatologic disease, or people who are pregnant.

“Sonora Quest Laboratories tests thousands of patient specimens every month to diagnose valley fever and serves as a valuable resource for coccidioides studies,” said Michael Saubolle, Ph.D., D(ABMM), F(AAM), F(IDSA), clinical microbiologist with Sonora Quest Laboratories. “We’re proud to work closely with public health epidemiologists and clinicians at the Valley Fever Center for Excellence and to leverage our strengths as an interdisciplinary team in support of the health care community.”

Over 5,000 new infections are reported to the Arizona Department of Health Services each year; however, this likely only represents a third of those who seek medical attention for their illness, but are not accurately diagnosed with valley fever. With My Lab ReQuest, patients suffering from the infection’s symptoms can take control of their health and order the valley fever evaluation test without a doctor’s order at one of Sonora Quest Laboratories 70+ Patient Service Centers statewide.

To learn more about valley fever visit www.vfce.arizona.edu. For more information about Sonora Quest Laboratories’ patient services, test information or to schedule an appointment please visit www.sonoraquest.com.

About Sonora Quest Laboratories

Sonora Quest Laboratories is part of the nation's largest integrated laboratory system with more than 3,000 employees serving more than 23,000 patients every day throughout Arizona. Sonora Quest Laboratories is the market share leader in clinical laboratory testing in Arizona, performing more than 57 million diagnostic tests per year. Sonora Quest Laboratories offers a local comprehensive test menu which encompasses routine, molecular, prescription drug monitoring, cytogenetic, and pathology testing services. Ninety-eight percent of all testing is performed at our primary testing facilities located in Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott and Yuma. Sonora Quest Laboratories is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) which is the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, helping laboratories to maintain accuracy of test results and ensure accurate patient diagnosis. This accreditation ensures the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients as CAP inspectors examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and records, and overall management.